Tuesday, November 22, 2016
A Day at the Drinking Fountain
Wow, does that look old? Brings back memories to me…memories of a particular day, a day that people my age and older always remember.
I was at this elementary school in Sacramento. The time was around 11:00 am Pacific Time, perhaps just a little before that. It was recess time, and I was thirsty on this cool morning, sunny but in the mid-40’s. I got my sip of water and I heard two teachers talking with each other…something about the President being shot in Dallas.
It was Friday, November 22, 1963…a fateful day for our nation. Our 35th President was shot dead while parading in a open convertible along Dealey Plaza, a Dallas city park built in 1940 as a WPA project. Many times through the years I would visit his grave in Arlington…along with that of his brother Bobby. I also visited Dealey Plaza a few times while living in Arkansas. Truly a piece of history. People come, they look, they point, they take pictures. Some enter the book depository…some just drive along the route.
I went over and told a few school friends about the shooting, no one believed me. I went closer to the school office where a few teachers were standing around, tears in their eyes. I asked if what I had heard was true, and one lady told me yes, and that they had just announced that the President had died. She was sobbing. They closed school down early on this day…I cannot remember how I got home, or if anyone was at home when I got there. What I do remember is the TV going for what seemed the entire weekend long, and on Monday too.
The TV was full of the news of the event, and the event which followed when Oswald got shot by Jack Ruby on Sunday.
On Saturday, the coffin containing Kennedy’s body sits in the White House. On Sunday his body lay in state under the Capital Dome. Hundreds of thousands of people walk through the capital...it is a gloomy time...and the TV covers it all. It was a time when we all looked for answers, and names like Cronkite, and Huntley and Brinkley were news people who we all could trust, and they provided what answers they were able to give.
On Monday President Kennedy was buried. I can remember watching much of the procession from Capital to St. Matthew's Cathedral, the flag-draped casket of President Kennedy borne by a horse-drawn caisson. Later, the procession proceeded on to Arlington. I can remember the the sounds of the muffled drums and the clacking of horses. The military flyover at the cemetery…and the 21 gun salute. And again, the many tears…